Jacob Anthony: Farm improvement starts with the farmer

It’s all too easy for us as farmers to become immersed in habit and stuck in a rut of repeating the same processes over and over again.

Many of us can be guilty of the mindset of “well it worked for my dad and his dad before” – and yes, usually it did for a reason.

However, every day is a school day and there is always scope for improvement; we should have an open mind towards new ideas.

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Even if it is just by the tiniest of margins, implementing the simplest new idea or gradually altering something over a period of time, any improvement should be embraced.

As the well-known farming saying goes: “Live as if you die tomorrow, farm as if you live for ever”.

Improvement starts with you

Those of us in agriculture are incredibly lucky to have several fantastic fully funded personal development programmes available.

These programmes are designed to not only present you with potential ideas of how to enhance your own business and improve your personal knowledge of the sector, but also help you network with like-minded individuals from across the country.

I am speaking from personal experience when I say how brilliant participating in these programmes can be. I have been fortunate enough to have taken part in a couple over the past few years.

The first of these was Farming Connect Agri Academy back in 2014. I met some great people and even made a very important contact who now purchases our lambs for a major meat processor.

This is just one example of the invaluable contacts you could potentially make while networking on these courses.

The Agri Academy even took us on a study tour to northern Italy where we saw many different farming enterprises and had the opportunity to dine at the British Consulate in Milan.

Get stuck in

In 2016, I was lucky enough to take part in the National Sheep Associations Young Ambassador programme. My passion in farming is sheep, so it was extremely beneficial.

We had several farm tours looking at a wide range of sheep enterprises; some of these inspired me to alter our system at home.

That in itself made the time invested in participating more than worthwhile. If your passion is also sheep, then it is definitely something you should consider.

As well as programmes there are plenty of meetings held by local societies – farmers clubs, grassland societies and farm vets – where you can hear a wide range of insightful speakers.

These talks often leave you feeling inspired and wanting to try something new.  

Put simply – we as farmers and business owners can never learn enough. We should all constantly try to improve ourselves.

It’s you who will reap the benefits. Even if you don’t realise it initially, there will be a time when your new-found knowledge pays dividends.

Make the most of these opportunities to better yourself when they’re available. I guarantee you won’t regret it.